‘Oz’ Gets HD Makeover for 1080p Blu-ray, Theaters

Next week is a big one for “Wizard of Oz” fans, and the marketers will be out in force on several PR fronts as the movie classic celebrates its 70th anniversary.
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Next week is a big one for “Wizard of Oz” fans, and the marketers will be out in force on several PR fronts as the movie classic celebrates its 70th anniversary.

The main product will be a complete restoration to 1080p (Blu-ray), which is more enhanced technically than several previous restorations.

Besides the remastered Blu-ray (and standard DVD) discs, the restored film will be screened in movie theaters, according to Warner Brothers and Turner Classic Movies. “Oz” will be shown on about 450 screens throughout the United States next Wednesday, Sept. 23, shortly before the Blu-ray and DVD versions are released.

While Warner Brothers said it had restored the film only a few years ago (2005), technical advances in such things as color correction and scanning resolution (not to mention a recent Technicolor print discovery that was mostly used for “referencing” purposes) have already improved enough to warrant this new restoration project for the anniversary, as well as the 1939 movie’s first issuance on Blu-ray.

Warner Brothers said restorers used a pin-registered Northlight film scanner able to scan three separate camera negatives at 8K, a much-higher resolution than was possible until recently.

And in another marketing event for the movie’s debut in Blu-ray, for 24 hours starting at 9 a.m. (ET) on Saturday, Oct. 3, Netflix will allow its 9.3 million subs to stream “Oz” in HD or SD for free.